The State of the Miami Dolphins Offensive Line (Post Bully-gate Pre Draft)Posted: March 18, 2014
Going into the offseason there was no more obvious need than addressing the offensive line. That unit damaged by both the bullying scandal and the report that was released after the season. Even though I still strongly feel Martin should have handled things different as I always say it is what it is!
After reading the report I knew heads would roll both coaches and players and even though his job is safe for now even our young Center Mike Pouncey might want to walk that tight line and stay out of the news other than playing well.
Gone are Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin, John Jerry three players who were the source of the reports and most likely we might have seen the end of both Clabo and McKinnie even though I would invite both back for competition and depth. Currently we have 9 offensive linemen under contract (see list below) it is almost 100% guaranteed that Miami will be looking to draft a linemen or two in the draft I am still hoping we find another veteran player or two to come in and compete in camp.
- C Mike Pouncey
- C Sam Brenner
- G David Arkin
- G Shelly Smith
- G/T Dallas Thomas
- T Michael Ola
- T Branden Albert
- T Nate Garner
- T Jason Weaver
That is why I feel both Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie would be excellent players to bring back as both help solidify the troubled line last season and would be perfect insurance for the Rookie RT they will draft and Brandon Albert our high-priced LT free agent signing. I still feel we need to have insurance and both players did admirably filling in what was a very difficult situation.
Miami need to add more players especially on the line and one way to go about it is to reward players who did well and McKinnie in particular wants to come back as for Clabo he is a free agent too but I am sure he would welcome coming back to Miami.
There is a lot of work to do getting this unit together and hopefully Miami will accomplish it as time is running out for a few people to take that next step and the last thing Joe Philbin and his staff needs is to go into this next season having issues with what is a critical position for the team the front line of our offense, eyes are watching and this is the time for Hickey to earn a good reputation or quickly become hated and we know what happens when the Dolphin fans are ticked off. Hickey better not look up in the sky as the ever popular flyover will be displaying a Fire Hickey banner in Davie.
Miami might need to seriously think about trading up in the draft to get a top OT if they are inclined to try to fill the RT position through the draft as the best will go off the board way before Miami gets to pick at #18. But I would prefer they have a veteran player in that position and have the Rookie compete for the job. With our history in the draft I would not want to put my job on the line for any Rookie.
But that is the job of the GM and the risk and rewards of the position and we will soon see how Hickey will do as his free agent moves are looking good but his bread is buttered by how he does in the draft and unfortunately ultimately what Philbin and his staff does with the players he has assembled. Let’s hope for Hickey’s sake that Philbin does a better job of utilizing the rookies of the 2014 draft better than he did the class of 2013 as that class basically red-shirted the season as the coaching staff did a poor job of using them last season and that was one excuse some Ireland haters used to fault the embattled GM. So hopefully the communication between the GM and Coach are more conducive to creating an atmosphere where they are on the same page and will lookout for each other because both can damage the reputation of the other as long as the owner put them in the position to do so. And that is exactly what undermined the last GM as reports came out that things got so bad that the GM and HC were not on talking terms.
As for now the line is incomplete but the signing of Brandon Albert at least filled a position hard to fill especially with a young pro-bowl player so that was critical to have a solid LT to man the blindside of Tannehill. Now we wait and see what the Dolphins will do from this point forward. Can they trade for a veteran player? Can they find one more quality RT/RG in free agency? Is the Draft the answer for both our RT and RG spot? That would be risky to man two Rookies.
Somehow I feel that they have a plan and will get the offensive line on track to not be an issue. So what do you think? How can Miami address the line? Do you feel the players we have are enough? As always I invite your opinions.